5 Ways to Mix Woods in Your Home


Long passed are the days of perfectly uniform furniture sets (thankfully), but that raises the question of how to mix wood tones and finishes in your home in a way that looks natural and eclectic. Mixing woods may seem intimidating at first, but in reality, it's one of the easiest ways to create an interior that feels connected and personal over time. Whether your style is a bit more rustic or modern, mixing dark and light wood furniture and frames is a tried and true way to make your space feel lived-in. 

A great place to start? Our American Hardwood Collection. Ranging from darker woods like Walnut to very light tones like Bleached Maple Mini and Ash Gallery, there are plenty of opportunities to mix and match while making it your own. Visible, natural wood grain highlights the quality and beauty of the materials for a luxe look that’s timeless.

From wood floors to the frames in your gallery wall, here are five tips for mixing wood tones like the pros.

Man with wood samples and picture frames

1. Check the undertones.

The key to mixing woods is keeping the undertones consistent. Woods with warm undertones will look yellow or red - think Cherry, Mahogany, and Hickory. These woods will work well together, even if they vary in darkness and grain. Cool-toned woods will look a little bit grey, like Ash, Maple, Poplar, or Pine. Neutrally toned woods like Walnut are the most versatile. Walnut has soft purple undertones that work with warm and cool-toned wood alike. Feel free to mix dark and light woods of varying finishes and grain sizes so long as the undertones are consistent. 

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2. Spread finishes throughout the room.

If you pile all your darker wood pieces on one side of a room, that side will feel heavy, leaving the room off-kilter. Rather, space lighter and darker pieces throughout the room to add visual interest and balance. Many rooms have permanent wood components, whether wood floors, siding, or exposed beams. You can play off the character of the room by adding furniture, frames, and other wood elements to create balance. 

The same can be said of gallery walls. If using frames with a variety of wood, metal, and matte finishes, scatter each type throughout the arrangement to avoid one side feeling visually weighed down. If you want help designing a gallery wall, our expert design team is happy to help. You can also check out our pre-designed photo gallery walls that use all hardwood frames: The Hardwoods Cozy Organic, The Hardwoods Grand Organic, and The Hardwoods Triptych

Photo via @emily.magers | Shop this look

3. Mix up grain patterns and sizes.

Consciously or not, we register wood grain just as much as color. Generally, large wood grains suggest a more casual, rustic look. Fine wood grains are more formal. While mixing wood grains can keep a room from feeling too contrived, tune in to the mood of the room.

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4. Mix Old and New

More than likely, the furniture in your home has been collected over time -  a dresser inherited, a nightstand picked up at a flea market, a couch splurged on. The best rooms feel natural, as though they’ve evolved through the years.

When you pick up furniture here and there, however, the woods will almost definitely not match. We recommend embracing these differences and upping the contrast. Mixing a variety of finishes will look like a deliberate (and chic) design choice. Depending on how you style your pieces, the end result can be modern, rustic, or a happy medium between the two. (There's a reason why modern rustic is such a popular design trend!)

Photo via @donborsch, art by @visual_contrast and @mandymandible | Shop this look

5. Opt for textiles.

Rugs, wall hangings, and throw pillows are all great ways to break up a visual plane and make the difference in wood tones less jarring. If you have light wood floors and a dark wood table, a bright area rug serve as a natural transition. The variation in texture will also create interest and make the room more inviting. (Mixing in other hard surfaces like marble, metal, granite, mirrors, and glass can have a similar effect.)

What we love most about the modern rustic trend is that it's forgiving and adaptable. You can (and should!) add your own spin to your space. Because modern rustic focuses more on the quality of the materials, a room's design can oscillate between sleek and cozy, all the while feeling contemporary and on-trend. 


Feel like you’re ready to start framing? Check out our Hardwoods Collection or browse all styles.